The quality of life is normally taken to mean the general well being of people and the environment in which they live in. it is undeniable that recent scientific and technological innovations have enhanced the quality of life for many. However, the developments of today that promise us a better quality of life are also the ones that can worsen the quality of life. Science and technology give their creators and inventors ever-greater supremacy and control, for good or otherwise, over the physical universe. Indeed, the possible dire consequences and impact of misused and misapplied innovations can affect the quality of life drastically.
Technological innovations have resulted in an improved and well-established system of telecommunications and satellites. This leads to ease in access of communication system globally. International calls can now be made so readily that two people at separate ends of the world can now stay instantly in contact with a touch of the dial. But, with the onslaught of the worldwide web and wireless communication devices, technology has in fact, drawn people away from each other. The presence of electronic email and short-text messages, gave busy people of this high-tech society yet another excuse to dismiss the need for face-to-face meetings and interactions. Humans have become overly dependent upon such gadgets and devices to carry out the basic task such as to communicate. What will result from the above phenomenon is that the generations to come will be lacking in inter-personal and interactive skills.
Medical scientific and technological innovations have been largely beneficial. Death rates, infant mortality rates as well as diseases of the past that used to lead to alarming numbers of deaths, have been eradicated greatly. Modern drugs and vaccines have eased much physically suffering. But, the discovery of Euthanasia and Genetic Engineering have sparked off a series of moral questioning concerning the supposed death with dignity as well as issues that include abortion as the latter opens up possibilities of misuse. It is true that abortion practices enable pregnant women who are at health risk to remove the baby in the course of pregnancy but many have taken advantage of this procedure to rid themselves of the product of irresponsible actions on their part. Also, Euthanasia, despite being said to be death in dignity, nevertheless, opposes many religious and conservative views.
Advanced military technological innovations have provided a higher degree of security for citizens in countries. This does actually contribute to enhancing the quality of life as cyber warfare, biological warfare and nuclear warfare help to create a new form of defence mechanism to protect the people. Conversely, advance military technological innovations have also empowered modern armies a great level of destructive potential and selective aiming targets. This results in civilians and innocent people ending up as the greater victims in wars. In addition, the use of chemical and biological weapons has diffused effects that make the clear-cut drawing of battle lines more complex and difficult. Hence, instead of enhancing the quality of life, humans’ vulnerability increases and security decreases in times of war.
Another political and legal aspect in which scientific and technological innovations have helped to improve the quality of life for humans is the availability of knowledge. Indeed, the access to information enhances democracy that provides citizens with a more liberal political system. However, it should be noted that technology, though allowing easy access to the supply of knowledge, actually devalues the worth of information and knowledge. Today, knowledge can easily turn obsolete as focus is placed on the survival of the most info and techno-savvy society. Also, what is accessible from the wide pool of resources on the worldwide web does not always provide the correct and morally upright information. For instance, the wide pool of pornography corrupts one’s mind and worsens the quality of life as it presents an improper, inaccurate and unrealistic view towards sex.
Next, computers and high-tech machinery have aided in improving many economies, especially those of the developing countries. For example, South Korea went from being a developing country to becoming a newly industrialized country because they have become more capital-intensive and technologically oriented in their industries. Areas ranging from manufacturing processes to the service sector have been made easy by the use of both the computer and machinery. Nevertheless, such gadgets have become such an indispensable and essential tool in modern life that the need for labour-intensive employment has greatly declined. This puts lowly educated and lowly skilled workers out of jobs. Such an over reliance branches into almost every type of human activity and the importance of human resources will eventually be lost with time. How can quality of life be enhanced when the technology is deemed more valuable and useful than human resource?
Another area to ponder about is the environmental aspect of life. Pollution and deforestation have both worsened the quality of life in today’s society. Health problems have resulted from air, water, soil and hazardous waste pollution. Governments of less developed nations, in their eagerness to improve their economies by employing technology in their commerce, are willing to forsake the importance of the environment in maintaining the quality of life of their people. Poor air quality in twenty megacities in the world, with population of more than ten million results in an increase in lung, heart and brain cancer. This is the effect of traffic fumes; industrial processes, new sewage systems and even open refuse burning. Water quality is greatly diminished by the pollution caused by petrochemical complex, pesticide and factories. The issue of deforestation is also linked to the worsening of the quality of life as basic needs of recreation, culture and leisure are greatly affected. Thus, it is evident that though busy industries can be an indication of a healthy economy that can increase the monetary aspect of standard of living, actually denies humans their basic right to drink clean water and breathe clean, uncontaminated air.
In conclusion, the issues of the quality of life that are affected by scientific and technological innovations are urgent and require much reconsideration. The nuclear power that promised virtually limitless, cheap and non-polluting energy for future generations proved otherwise in the disastrous accidents such as those that took place at Three Mile Island and Chernoblyl. Furthermore, the down sides to the supposed enhancement of the quality of life as depicted by the double-edged sword qualities of science and technology like those presented in this argument have clearly shown that recent scientific and technological innovations can increase the quality of life as well as degenerate it.